Streetwise Professor

February 7, 2012

Kafka Would Understand

Filed under: Economics,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 8:11 pm

Russian prosecutors have announced that they are continuing the prosecution of Sergei Magnitsky. Who is dead.

What’s the point of a posthumous prosecution? The real reasons: To intimidate others from challenging corrupt law enforcement officials.  To play defense against accusations of corruption by continuing to assault Magnitsky, even in death.

But that’s not the reason the prosecutors are giving.  Instead, adding insult to injury, the prosecutors claim that they are pursuing the case to secure Magnitsky’s honor and dignity:

Police reopened the case against Mr. Magnitsky last summer, saying it would provide a venue for relatives and supporters to clear his name.

. . . .

The Hermitage statement said a police investigator had offered to drop the case in a letter provided to Mr. Magnitsky’s mother last week, but only if relatives stated they had no “desire to protect the honor and dignity of the deceased.”

Kafka would be so proud.

Another famous Russian prosecution is in the news.  My friend Sergei Guriev quite courageously said that Khodorkovsky should be freed, and that everyone involved in the Magnitsky case should be fired:

At a “Russia 2018” panel, New Economic School Rector Sergei Guriev said the Russian government could send an important signal to the investment community by releasing its most famous political prisoner:

To really prove that the Russian state is interested in a better business climate, first of all, they should release Khodorkovsky and fire all of the executives that are involved in the Magnitsky case. This will prove that the Russian government is interested in improving the investment climate.

I agree that’s what Russia should do, but Putin will never, ever do that.  Partly because he fears that Khodorkovsky could become the leader that the opposition so desperately lacks.  Partly because that freeing him would be to acknowledge that Putinism is fundamentally flawed.  Partly because freeing him would be to discredit the prosecution.

But mainly because Putin has an inveterate, unreasoning, visceral, Pavlovian hatred for Khororkovsky.  Watch the scene in Part II of the BBC program on Putin and the West, in which Khodorkovsky calls out high level officials in Putin’s personal circle–and by implication Putin–for corruption.  Watch Putin’s reaction.  And watch anything else you can find where Putin is asked about Khodorkovsky.  Even if you don’t understand Russian, you can understand exactly what is going on.

So props to Sergei for speaking out.  But the fact that what he says should be done–and rightly so–will never be done while Putin breathes tells you is exactly why Putin’s Purgatory will persist.

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  1. SWP, you have obviously missed the point of this prosecution, which is to prove to the world how carefully Putin has listened to the protesters and how seriously he intends to rule differently if given the chance by Russian voters. What could he have done to prove more conclusively that his words are genuine?

    Comment by La Russophobe — February 7, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

  2. Looks like that crapload of Bradley fighting vehicles that a Zerohedge contributor filmed being shipped by rail across the U.S. might be headed for Syria.

    And Andy Dzughashvili says I know nothing about Syria. Hell, I know a guy who used to chat with Old Man Assad’s household staff all the time in the early 1980s. And yes, most of them are Christians, and sometimes I wonder where their children and grandchildren are now. Probably living in fear that the survivors of Hama and their kids will seek horrible ‘revenge’ on Alawites and Christians when they seize power, with the West turning a blind eye just like it refused to cover the slaughter of black Africans by the anti-Gaddafi rebels in Libya.
    Bradleys by the brigade-load rolling on rail to U.S. ports — ready for action?

    Plus, I haven’t been to Syria but I’ve LOOKED AT IT from the Israeli Golan Heights. How about you Andy? Did you ask all those Israeli mercs in Tbilisi before they pulled out prior to 08/08/08 how they liked being used as gurkhas for Darth Cheney’s agenda?

    Comment by Mr. X — February 8, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

  3. SWP, this very short video pretty much sums up Putler:

    Comment by elmer — February 8, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

  4. Could the ‘Ron Paul is meeting with Sturmfront’ members BS propaganda from Fed-‘nonymous’ be cranked up because of this?
    GOP Strategist: Ron Paul will be on the Republican ticket after a brokered convention

    You’ll notice however that not even the mainstream media which never misses a chance to diss Paul and has obsessively covered the newsletters written by Lew Rockwell ‘gate has picked up this ‘Care2’ faked Anonymous hack story. That shows it’s a bunch of crap. It also seems very unlikely real members of the Anonymous collective, who hate the Federal Reserve, would go out of their way to discredit its biggest critic. Hence this having false flag written all over it.

    Comment by Mr. X — February 9, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

  5. How much do the Putin -mafia pay the Anonymous moron X to spam this forum ?

    Pro-Kremlin organisation reportedly pays hundreds of thousands of pounds to network of internet users to help political cause

    The mass of data appears to show evidence of the sinister tactics used by Nashi, and includes:

    • Price lists for pro-Putin bloggers and commenters which indicate that some are paid as much as 600,000 roubles (£12,694) for leaving hundreds of comments on negative stories about Putin.

    Comment by Anders — February 9, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

  6. @Anders–My guess is that Mr. X gets paid by the word: that’s the only way it would make any sense. And I want a cut!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 9, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  7. So what say you, Mr. X? By the word? By the comment? Gratis? (If the latter-you have to rethink your priorities.)

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 9, 2012 @ 9:37 pm

  8. Nope, I don’t get a kopek from any government, which is more than I can say for you fans SWP.

    And you know full well I have a U.S. IP address. Andy says he’s a Kiwi who has a bizarre fixation on defaming any American politician who thinks the Cold War is over and wants the U.S. to act accordingly.

    Anders says he’s Norwegian but all his posts are at 3:30 a.m. Oslo time. Does he live in Costa Rica or something?

    But I’m the hack?

    Go back to prepping for Gensler’s job in a Romney administration ‘regulating’ your see know-hear no-speak no pals at the CME, SWP. “I know nuthing I know nuthing! The MF money is gone, all gone! Poof! Vanished!” And yes, cheerleading for more war and death to be rained down on Syria’s Christians and the Iraqi Christians who managed to escape Baghdad in the past few years.

    Comment by Mr. X — February 9, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  9. The chutzpah is astounding — your two biggest fans purport to be non-Americans who are so peachy keen to tell this American how his taxpayer dollars ought to be spent.

    Once again, hatred of Russia trumps EVERYTHING here. Patriotism, respect for one’s fellow citizens, respect for the troops at the end of a long supply line in Afghanistan, actual concern for honest financial markets, etc etc etc. It is the be all do all of this sorry ass blog.

    Comment by Mr. X — February 9, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  10. You are not my countryman SWP. You are a shameless pro-Establishment coward who enjoys getting patted on the head now and then for your obscure academia posts. If you came out against The Man, you’d be up there with Zerohedge and Peter Schiff with hundreds of thousands of daily readers. But you prefer the crumbs from the Man’s table.

    Comment by Mr. X — February 9, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

  11. X man . . . TFF. US IP address means what, exactly?

    And re being a CFTC commissioner . . . very funny. 1. It would never be offered to me. Never. 2. Even if it were, I wouldn’t take it in a million years. For a million different reasons.

    Re MF Global. The wheels of justice grind slowly.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 9, 2012 @ 10:05 pm

  12. God only knows if 2 bil ‘disappeared’ from some Moscow bank or the MICEX, we’d never hear the end of it at this sorry blog.

    Comment by Mr. X — February 9, 2012 @ 10:06 pm

  13. And the sad part is, you’d probably even be richer like Schiff, at least with a good stockpile of gold, silver and firearms. But no…..keep kissing the Man’s ass.

    Comment by Mr. X — February 9, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

  14. Alright, I’m done here. Sick and damn tired of being told by a bunch of globalist toady foreigners where American lives and (increasingly fiat) money ought to be spent in a perpetual Oceania war against Eurasia (Russia). Go back to Norway and Middle Earth (Mordor) all of you.

    Comment by Mr. X — February 9, 2012 @ 10:12 pm

  15. I’ve lost count on how many times you’re done.

    Like I’ve said: if it’s so sorry, why are you here?

    And I have no ambitions to be scumbags like ZH, no matter how much traffic scumbaggery generates.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 9, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

  16. @X, yes, I have been to Syria, twice.
    Not a pleasant place really.
    BTW, the Christian and Alawite support for Assad due to fears of retaliation will be a self fulfilling prophecy unfortunately.

    Now, the cold war is not over, it will not be over until the Russians get a government that is 1. Democratic, 2. Respects human rights, 3. Does not interfere in the internal or external affairs of it’s neighbors, particularly it’s former imperial possessions, 4. Stops arming terrorist groups and rogue states ranging from FARC, Hizbolla, and the Taliban, to Burma, Zimbabwe, and Iran.

    One more thing, it is called free speech, just because you are (supposedly) and American, and I am not, does not mean I cannot comment on US issues. That is the beauty of the UDHR.

    I am constantly amazed at your toadying to a mafia-kgb fascist state like Russia, you have every right to do so of course, but expect to be called out on it.

    What were you? Putin’s fag at uni or something?

    Comment by Andrew — February 9, 2012 @ 10:39 pm

  17. +++If you came out against The Man+++

    Has anyone came up with the idea for a T-shirt design: “I am The Man”? Could make some decent money off it.

    Comment by LL — February 10, 2012 @ 5:25 am

  18. Anders says he’s Norwegian but all his posts are at 3:30 a.m. Oslo time. Does he live in Costa Rica or something?

    The Putin-mafia -imperialist enforcers Moron X need some facts ?

    As late as the fall of 1990, Stephen P. Cohen of Princeton University was proclaiming that “democratic forces will never take control over Russia”,+Stephen+P.+Cohen+of+Princeton+University+was+proclaiming+that+%22democratic+forces+will+never+take+control+over&source=bl&ots=FlgQJevvXz&sig=VKlBuhHbhhPQXUZepDwPQB47uGY&hl=no&sa=X&ei=5Bg1T9miBMKd-wbPqeijAg&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=As%20late%20as%20the%20fall%20of%201990%2C%20Stephen%20P.%20Cohen%20of%20Princeton%20University%20was%20proclaiming%20that%20%22democratic%20forces%20will%20never%20take%20control%20over&f=false

    Comment by Anders — February 10, 2012 @ 7:21 am

  19. […] The Streetwise Professor ponders the Kafka-esque absurdity of prosecuting “Sergei Magnitsky. Who is dead.” […]

    Pingback by This week in Russia blogs #4 — February 11, 2012 @ 8:02 am

  20. […] The Streetwise Professor ponders the Kafka-esque absurdity of prosecuting “Sergei Magnitsky. Who is dead.” […]

    Pingback by Official Russia | This week in Russia blogs #4 — February 11, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

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